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Open Access Niche sharing reflects a poorly understood biodiversity phenomenon

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Eucalyptus spp. are susceptible to a large number of foliar pathogens, some of which can cause serious defoliation and die-back. In this study, a single leaf spot on a Eucalyptus leaf collected in Madagascar revealed an unusual association of microfungi with disease symptoms. Initial observations indicated that the leaf spot was associated with Mycosphaerella marksii, a common pathogen of eucalypts. However, more intensive scrutiny showed the presence of several other microfungi co-occurring in this, and other leaf spots on the leaf. A total of 41 single conidial propagules were subsequently obtained from a single lesion for morphological study and DNA sequence comparisons. Based on these data, 11 members of the Capnodiales, including one species of Pestalotiopsis (Xylariales), were observed. Of the capnodialean taxa, nine could be cultivated, which revealed one known species, M. marksii, two taxa in the Cladosporium cladosporioides species complex that were not treated here, and six new species, including Passalora intermedia, Pseudocercospora madagascariensis, Teratosphaeria hortaea, Toxicocladosporium chlamydosporum, T. rubrigenum and T. veloxum. Results of this study highlight a remarkable fungal biodiversity that can occur within a very specific niche. Furthermore, the results emphasise the importance of verifying the identity of fungal isolates in culture, as many taxa, especially those of the Capnodiales, frequently co-occur in the same niche, lesion or leaf spot.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-06-30

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  • Persoonia aims to publish papers dealing with molecular phylogeny and evolution of fungi. A further aim is to promote fungal taxonomy by employing a polythetic approach to clarify the true phylogeny and relationships within the kingdom Fungi. The journal publishes high-quality papers elucidating known and novel fungal taxa at the DNA level, and also strives to present novel insights into evolutionary processes and relationships. Papers to be considered include research articles and reviews.

    Papers are published using a Fast Track system. This implies that the papers are immediately published online and freely available through the internet via this website. Volumes appear twice a year (June and December). From Volume 36 onwards (2016) hard copy volumes will only be made available through printing-on-demand. The issues can be ordered separately through the Publication Division of Naturalis Biodiversity Center; e-mail: [email protected]

    Persoonia is a journal published jointly by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.
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